Writing Books/Getting published
My name is Allison, and I've wanted to be a writer for as long as I can remember. Books have always fascinated me, and I always wanted to write one of my own and see it on a shelf someday. Last summer, I started acting on a story idea I'd had for a few years. It turned into a 350+ fantasy story, and is completed (more or less...I add some stuff every now and then.) Now I'm fifteen and very proud of my work. But I have absolutely no idea where to go from here. I'm fairly certain it's a decent piece of work, and my English teacher often complimented me on my writing style, which earned me a 106% final grade in the class. And I don't think it's good just because it's long, I honestly think it's decent. My parents have always known of my flair for writing....but they didn't know it was of this magnitude. How would I go about getting my work published? I've looked it up....but I think it only made me more confused. I would greatly appreciate some help.
Congratulations for finishing such a lengthy work! That takes a lot of persistence, and you should feel very satisfied with that.
Truly, the publishing world is very, very confusing. I'm not surprised at all that your research didn't really help.
No offense whatsoever to your English teacher, but when it comes to marketable fiction, they're not exactly the experts. Many English teachers encourage their talented students by praising their work (and yeah, that's what they should do). Like you, my English teachers gave me very high marks and talked about how talented I was. But I later found that this did not even remotely prepare me for being a 'real' writer.
There's so much more to fiction writing than I ever learned in school, or in college, or by reading constantly. Yes, I had a way with words... but I knew virtually nothing of good character development, plotting, voice, theme, etc.
What I'd recommend for you (or anyone) is to become the best writer you can be. Yes, I'd do this before trying to sell the book you've recently completed. And I suggest this because I think what you'll find is that the more you learn about fiction writing, the less you'll feel that your current work is ready for publication.
Look for seminars or workshops in your area (and you might check out magazines like Writer's Digest for such things), or even online. I'd also suggest picking up a number of books on fiction writing. If your local library doesn't have recent books on the topic, check out a Borders or Barnes & Noble, or even Amazon. There are lots of great guides out there... and you'll learn things in them that you won't in school. (A good way to find a good one is to read the reader reviews on Amazon.)
Just so you know where I'm coming from... I began my first novel when I was 18. And when it was finished, years later, I thought it rocked. Well, I was unable to get an agent to represent it, and eventually proceeded to work on my next book. Today, I look back on that first novel and realize that when I wrote it, I simply didn't know enough about writing (despite it being my college major) to see all the faults it had.
I suspect you'll come to realize the same thing, the more you learn, and hopefully won't have to go through the painful process of collecting rejections, like I did.
If you'd like to talk more about this, or have other questions, feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.